It’s International Polar Bear Day, a day set aside to draw attention to the threats polar bears face in a warming Arctic and how each of us can help.
Polar bears are facing challenges in the Arctic on many fronts, from climate change to oil drilling. Last year, the U.S opened a 1.5 million-acre region of the Arctic Refuge known as the coastal plain to oil and gas exploration under provision in a federal tax measure. And sales for leases are already underway.
Seismic exploration and drilling would occur in critical habitat for the threatened Southern Beaufort Sea polar bear in the middle of polar bear denning season. The coastal plain is one of the most important onshore denning areas for polar bears in the U.S., more so now than ever as sea ice continues to recede. The seismic testing could frighten mother bears from their dens, leaving cubs to perish and contribute to further species decline.
But you can help stop this by contacting your Congressional representatives and asking them to support the Arctic Cultural Coastal Plain Protection Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-California. The act, HR 5911, would repeal the drilling provision in the tax law.
Another way you can help slow global warming and protect Arctic wildlife is by adopting a plant-based diet, which is beneficial to the environment, animals and your health. Learn more by checking our our Vegan Starter Guide and visiting our online store to view our two vegan cookbooks.
In addition, scientists at Polar Bears International, an organization dedicated solely to wild polar bears, have put together a list of which individual actions have the most impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to save sea ice and polar bears.
Home & Work
· Insulating buildings and heating/cooling with efficient systems (e.g., ENERGY STAR).
· Generating your own power with solar sources.
· Letting your utility company know that you want to subscribe to green power.
· Using energy-efficient (e.g., ENERGY STAR) appliances and equipment, turning appliances off when not in use, and using low-tech methods when possible (e.g., line-dry clothes).
· Replacing light bulbs with LED bulbs
· Using no more water than needed.
· Walking or riding a bike.
· Using public transportation.
· Driving the most fuel-efficient vehicle for your needed task and driving at the most efficient speed for your vehicle.
· Avoiding drive-through businesses—don’t idle for more than 10 seconds.
· Keeping your car tuned up and maintaining proper tire inflation.
· Supporting community bike lanes, no-idling efforts, and mass transit options.
· Voting for political representatives who recognize that our carbon-based society isn’t sustainable and who will work to establish an appropriate price for carbon—and sharing information on these candidates with others.
· Helping to create a stewardship ethic in your community and raising awareness of how lifestyle changes can make a difference, by taking part in local green initiatives like planting trees, recycling drives or bike to work days—or starting your own.
· Encouraging members of your social circles to adopt sustainable lifestyles—and lead by example.
· Communicating the facts about global warming to friends and relatives.